The Regional Assembly of Murcia is backing an initiative from the fruit industry to designate 12 July as European Fruit Day in a bid to boost consumption.
The idea, which was conceived by the European Parliament and has the support of Proexport, agricultural unions and regional cooperatives, will now be put before the national government.
“We believe that measures like this can help boost fruit consumption, which will create social and economic benefits for the region,” said Proexport director Fernando Gómez.
“In particular, Proexport is very keen that the initiative is supported in Europe and leads to a rise in the consumption of fruits like melon and watermelon during July and August, since these are the months in which Murcia is one of the main suppliers to the European Union.”
Murcia leads the way in Spanish melon exports, shipping 227,438 tonnes in 2016 or 51 per cent of the national total. Although volumes were down slightly compared to the previous year, in value terms they increased by 9.5 per cent tp €158.5m. France was the leading destination, followed by Germany and the UK.
In watermelons, Murcia exported 161,546 tonnes last year with a value of €67.9m, an increase of 10.7 per cent on the previous year. Much of this increase was due to a rise in consumption fuelled by the development and greater availability of seedless varieties.
Germany is the main destination for watermelons from Murcia, followed by the UK, Netherlands and France.
The region is also a major exporter of stonefruit and table grapes during the summer months.